Fun and Random Christmas Q&A

Are you in the Holiday Spirit yet? While I was all hyped end of September when I started this article I have a hard time getting into the right mood now. So music is playing, candles are burning and I finally finish up this post. By the end I hope I will be ready.

I came across this little game last year on Emily’s blog (or was it somewhere else?) and already knew I had to go ahead and share some version of it with you.

Real or Fake Tree? Always and forever a real Christmas tree. I take it even further and say only real candles too. Who is with me?

craftaliciousme seeking creative life Christmas survey
Favorite Christmas cookie? 
Oh this one is a tough one. But I believe the one recipe I have been doing the last years is the one I posted here: Spicy Chai Cookies . Unfortunately I haven’t gotten around to making some this year. Maybe I find time to do so today.

Home or Travel for Christmas?
 Home-Travel. I have only spend 2 Christmas away from family: 1999 when I was in the USA and 2006 when I spend Christmas Eve with my new Boyfriend (now husband). After that we always spend it with my parents t my grandpas estate. So it’s kinda travel home.
But I feel like we should start our own little thing.


White or Multi-color lights? 
Never ever coloured. But electrical lights are rare in this household. As I said I am a real candle kinda girl.

Christmas cards? 
Yes. I always take time to make and write cards. Usually about 20-30 cards depending a bit. I love sitting down and doing this. It gives me time to reflect but I also see it as a tiny Christmas gift to people I otherwise wouldn’t stay in touch with.

Favorite gift received and/or given? Oh man, this is hard. I really don’t know. I guess all photo-related stuff is good. For over 10 yers I am making a calendar to give to my parents. And one of my favorite presents was a lens i got by Mr. 🖤.

Stockings or No stockings? 
No stockings. However we do have some stocking decorations we sometimes put up.

Christmas pajamas?
Is that a thing? Thinking about it I now want one.

Favorite Christmas song?
“Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angel Sing” This will be on repeat throughout the season and I might sing a long very loudly when no one is a round. One song I can not stand is “Silent Night” – no matter if German or English.

Favorite holiday tradition?
Check out last years post where I wrote all about it. On top of that I also like the entire Christmas Eve tradition at my parents house.

Early shopper or last minute?
No shopper – if I have a say in it. To be honest Mr. ♥ is the better shopper so I hope he does it. And he does it online and slightly in advance. I pick stuff up in between if I am totally certain someone love this. But usually I am not certain. I don’t like giving gifts.

Favorite Christmas movie? 
Oh this is tough. Mhm probably “Love Actually” but I am always on the look out for new ones so please spill.

Favorite holiday beverage?
Hot Elderberry Juice.

Now join the fun and let me know your answers.
Happy holidays, Tobia

My experience with Operation Christmas Child

Last night I was a Christmas Elf. Remember my post about “Weihnachten im Schuhkarton“? Today was the day when Operation Christmas Child happened and I handed in my package. Also my sister and I volunteered to help get the packages ready for shipping. Let me give you an inside story of what I’ve learnt and a peek behind the scenes.

shoebox for operation christmaschild

Already in October I set out to fill my shoebox and get little gifts. It was actually a lot of fun shopping for a kid as I never really do and there are some cute things to get. This was in my shoebox:

shoebox items for operation christmaschild

As I said volunteered by helping in the “Christmas Workshop”. In Germany there are two locations (Berlin & Birkenfeld/Pforzheim) where all packages will be checked, sealed and distributed to the countries. We had a 15 min training session with a video and then we were sent to our packing stations. All packing stations had team leader who we could ask all our questions. At the table there were 4 positions.

  1. checking box for label boy/girl, envelopes with money, writing was appropriate
  2. checking items if they comply with guide lines and custom requirements.
  3. sealing the package
  4. putting shoeboxes into transport packages, labelling, sealing and dropping off at warehouse

We quickly combined 1 & 2 as the workflow was better that way and the shoeboxes didn’t get too messed up.

operation christmas child Weihnachten im Schuhkarton Weihnachtswerkstatt Berlin

My job was to check items in the boxes. I made a list of things I learnt and what is helpful for people checking the boxes:

  • Most people pack for the middle age group 5-9 years. Then 2-4 and the teenagers 10-14 had the least packages.
  • Make sure shelf-life is end of March following year. We had to remove all candy that didn’t apply. Sometimes leaving a package having no candy at all. We were able to fill that up with donated items. This is due to custom relations.
  • If you pack candy, always insert full packages. Single candy bars, small gummy bear packages, bonbon, etc. we had to check every single item. Sometimes that was 30 little pieces which takes forever. All items without minimal shelf-life needed to be removed.
  • It’s helpful if the letters are on the top not the bottom so the box doesn’t need to be unpacked entirely.
  • Don’t wrap the present. We had to unwrap them if we couldn’t guess what was in there.
  • No soap bubbles as it’s too dangerous – kids might drink it.
  • Wrap shower gel/shamppo in a bag. We had to do that to a loooot of items. Also some already came in damaged.

Most of the boxes had really nice ideas and items in them. Every once in a while there was a box that was just so sad – only half filled, old/used/damaged stuff. There were boxes I dumped completely in the garbage. I wonder what people think. But most of them were really fun and gave me ideas for the next year:

  • snow boots and slippers
  • vest
  • musical instruments (xylophone, harmonica, claves)
  • earrings
  • nailpolish
  • purses
  • watches
  • pacifier

packages for operation christmaschild

We were there for 4 hours and we were around 50 people working. At the end of the shift we managed to sent over 3,000 shoeboxes on its way. The goal this year is 100.000 boxes. If you live in Berlin (or Pforzheim) and feel like helping there are lots of open spots to sign up.

If you are not close enough to volunteer you could still pack a shoebox online. Or just donate a bit to run the operation.

Maybe I find time to help again this year. Otherwise I will pack another box next year. Have you every participated? Or do you support another organisation? Would love to hear about it.

Happy Sunday,

Tobia

Disclaimer: This post contains links to the Operation Christmas Child. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. However I was not paid to talk about it, I just think it’s a nice little project to do. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them. Some of the photos were taken by berlinmittekind.

Advent Wreath Inspiration

Who else is busy thinking about this years advent wreath? I usually ponder I ideas already when most people enjoy their summer vacay at the pool. I have to be honest, this year my picture is not that clear. When I don’t know what direction to go I usually just look at my Pinterest board. Usually the first thing that I know is the color scheme of the new wreath. This might happen when I see certain candles or just some decoration that speaks to me. My moms wreath this year will be gold/brown/nude.

Following I want to share some advent wreath inspiration.

pine needle advent wreath | adventskrank aus nadeln

This pine needle advent wreath (tutorial) probably took the longest from all the ones I did. I love the look of it.

A minimalistic version is the French Knitted Wreath (tutorial).

walnut wreath tutorial by craftaliciousme

A nature inspired one with the Walnut Advent Wreath (tutorial).

textile advent wreath made of sweaterThis wreath was created of an old favorite sweater.

advent wreath muffin liner

A wreath made of Muffin Liners. Took a lot of glue but its hanging in my apartment for many years.

moss advent wreath

Here is an idea on how to create a moss wreath.

One of my Favourites is this Snowball Wreath (tutorial). Just never leave it burning unattended.

simple pine needle wreath | krank aus Tannennadeln

Door wreath made of Pine Needles.

What’s your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

Happy inspiration,

Tobia

Scented Wall Hanging { RECYCLE QUICK TIP #11 }

scented christmas decoration hanging

My favorite season is slowly but steadily coming closer and today I want to share a quick and easy tutorial with you. It’s a Scented Wall Hanging made of orange peel. Because now is the time to eat lots of vitamins and so we’ve got peels to recycle. And it is a good way to slowly start decoration for Advent without overdoing it.

All you need for this craft idea is some oranges or mandarines, a cookie cutter of your preference and some yarn.

Instructions are just that easy:

  1. Eat your oranges and saves the peel.
  2. Get out your cookie cutter and cut away.
  3. Thread them together. I did pairs of three. Then I strung them on a wooden piece.

scented christmas decoration

Well and that is about it. Easy and fun little crafting for in-between on a rainy afternoon.

If you like crafts with recycled materials my little eerie “Recycling Quick Tip” might be fun to check out. And if you have any fun and easy craft ideas let me know in the comments please.

Happy recycling,

Tobia

Giving Back with Christmas in a Shoebox

Ever year when Christmas comes up I think “Oh I could no should do this charity thing.” Every time I think I get into it later. Every year I am too late. This year I really want to do it because honestly is there anything holding me back besides my laziness? My perfect happy world where I pretend I have oh so many problems, stress and burdens? No I don’t! I have a family, a roof and food on the table, even a job and free time to do things I love. I can go out at night without being scared and more often than not I take all that for granted. Isn’t it time to give back. Time to show some appreciation. Time to share at least my wealth.

Christmas in a Shoebox giving back

As I said this thought is not new. Last year I was too late for the “Weihnachten im Schuhkarton” project. This year I am right on time. It starts today. If you are not familiar with it keep on reading.

It is pretty simple: You pack up a shoebox of gifts for a child who might have never opened a present before. There are a few ground rules like only new stuff, differentiate between boy/girl and age, and no war associated toys. Then drop it of with a 8€/9$ donation at one of the many places world wide. Voila you are done.

And even if that is too hard: You can just do it online by sending the donation via payable right now.

Not that hard. Read about the Christmas in a Shoebox project in more detail here in German / English.

Last year 11 million boxes were packed. The most boxes were packed in the U.S. but what kinda blew my mind was that Great Britain hold second place. Before Canada and all German Speaking Countries. So I looked a bit closer – because sometimes I am a numbers nerd – and realised that over half a million packed boxes looks a lot on paper it is still only 1-2% of the population. However it also makes me quite sad that Germany comes in at 0,44%. I don’t know something just doesn’t feel right there. Is this country really so self absorbed? I hope not.

Anyhow maybe you want to join me in this little thing (you can do so until November 15th). I went shopping for the first items today. I am still pondering the budget I set myself on but here is a list of things that might work for a 5-9 year old girl:

  • coloring book
  • diary with lock
  • pens, crayons, water color
  • chalk for street art
  • skipping rope
  • doll
  • stuffed animal – check
  • beads
  • necklace
  • tooth brush & tooth paste
  • headband
  • mittens
  • scarf
  • Hot chocolate powder
  • some chocolate
  • gummy bears

Happy October to you,

Tobia

If you are interested in this project read last years report.

Disclaimer: This post contains links to the Operation Christmas Child. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. However I was not paid to talk about it, I just think it’s a nice little project to do.